Quantcast

Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
The Green Life: If You Build It, They Will Come

« Greener Cleaners: DIY Wiper Fluid | Main | Greener Cleaners: Natural Stain Removers »

September 26, 2011

If You Build It, They Will Come

Southern masked weaver bird and nests When we recently examined the beautifully complex nests of eight different bird species, we wondered how these small, feathered creatures could weave masterpieces without any training or instruction. Well, new research suggests that the old adage "practice makes perfect" may also apply to our avian friends.

A study of male Southern Masked Weaver birds in Botswana found that nest-building isn't some kind of instinctive zombie walk. The birds, who build several grass nests during their breeding season, varied and improved on their technique with each new nest. They also learned to be more efficient over time — experienced birds dropped fewer blades of grass than novices.

Much like wannabe rock stars practicing guitar riffs in their basements, male members of this polygamous species have a powerful incentive to hone their skills: female birds choose the males with the most impressive nests.

Studies of another nest-design expert, the Satin Bowerbird, found that smarter males are more successful in the mating game. Or maybe they just practice harder.

--Della Watson / photo by iStock/hipokrat

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b96069e2015391e3b6a8970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference If You Build It, They Will Come:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...